Sunday, 23 November 2014

Workshops and Festivals in 2015...

As I missed this year's Festival of Romance in September- it was the same weekend as my son was moving into halls at university- I was hoping that I'll be able to attend next year.

Well the dates and location have been announced.

6th to the 8th November 2015 at Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire.

I spent many summers there going to the theatre- a whole week to visit places during the day, and in the audience at the RSC performances in the evening.

It's been a very long time since I last visited...

You can keep a watch for future details on the Festival of Romance website, here.

2015's date is in my diary already. :D

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If you're in the UK and within travelling distance of London, then you might be interested in the dates for the Women's Weekly fiction workshops being held in 2015.

I know a number of writers who have attended them and enjoyed the day- they always fill up quickly, so if you're interested get booking.

Each one day workshop costs £75, and starts with coffee and biscuits at 10 am and finishes at 4.30 pm, with an hour for lunch. 

It's held at the Blue Fin Building, in London, which readers may recognise from the magazine address.


Serial writing is running: February 9, April 20, July 3, and October 9.

Short Story: March 2, August 24, October 5, and November 9.

Crime Writing: March 23, October 2.

Twist in the Tail Short Story: April 13, September 7.

You can find out more details by clicking on the workshop date you're interested in, here. You can also book your place and pay online there too.

I'd like to go to one of the short story workshops, but then I'd also be interested in attending one of the serial writing sessions too.

Choices, choices...

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Openings to Stories...

Wednesday night at the writers' club I was in charge of the evening; it was a 'Discuss and Read' session.

This month's topic was openings- whether a novel or a short story- and the idea was to bring in a book where the start grabbed you and made you want to find out more...

Writing the opening of a story?
I took along the latest issue of the Woman's Weekly Fiction Special as there were a few interesting opening paragraphs that immediately made you want to read on- well a few of the older men didn't find them intriguing, but they weren't the target market of the magazine! :D

It was interesting to compare the openings of 'The 39 Steps' by John Buchan, written as a serial in the summer of 1915 before being published as a book a few months later, and Michael Frayn's, 'Towards the End of Morning' originally published in 1967.

Both these books didn't follow the grab your reader in quite the way it would be now. They were a more subtle winding of tendrils around the reader, luring them in out of curiosity rather than an outright, yes I want to know more now reaction.

 I had that, I want to know more now reaction to a modern sci-fi/fantasy type opening read by one of the members- when I can get in touch with her and find out the title and author, I'll let you know.

Like the other two, the opening was centred around the thoughts of the viewpoint character, but in this case you knew something was going to happen to this one any moment, and it wouldn't be good.

Obviously the writing style of those 20th century written novels were different to the current demands. Novel lengths were shorter, and long paragraphs weren't frowned upon because that was the norm.

Openings are never easy, and I do wonder whether these earlier writers went through the same indecision with the start of their novels, that writers nowadays often experience.

Personally I couldn't narrow down my choice of openings that have stayed with me, from all the novels I've read...

Do you have a favourite opening to a novel that has stayed with you?

Image courtesy of Nuttapong via